International -- Readers Report
HOW TO READ THE FRENCH ELECTIONS (int'l edition)
I am always interested in reading what the Anglo-Saxons say about us French: The feedback is enlightening ("Backlash! Will the French revolt cripple European reform?" June 16). I expected the June election to be misunderstood, just as President Jacques Chirac's election victory back in '95 was misunderstood--not only by foreign observers, but by Chirac himself.
In '95, the French voted for change--change meant growth and jobs. The right had been in office for two years, but Chirac promised a different sort of right. However, there was no follow-up to that promise; taxes and the public debt both went on going up, and so did the number of unemployed.
So in '97, the French have again voted for change, because they still want growth and jobs. They are probably more consistent than their President is.
La Rochelle, FranceReturn to top
INDIA MIRRORS CHINA--BUT WITH A DIFFERENCE (int'l edition)
India and China are similar in many ways ("How you can win in China," Cover Story, May 26). Both have agrarian economies and political instability in the recent past. Also, some of the problems mentioned in the article about working in China are similar to the problems many would face here in India.
Foreign firms' choice of a local partner must be made wisely. In China, winners avoid teaming up with state enterprises, while in India, firms often pick partners that are cash-rich or have political connections. These partnerships often have run into trouble, and the foreign firm usually ends up taking management control. Projects that compete with Indian public-sector companies are often mired in controversy. The same would seem to be the case with China.
Yet we keep reading that China is attracting more foreign capital and affiliations than India. It has been said that the Chinese government is more focused on reforms than the Indian government, where the bureaucracy has a stranglehold on the economy. Is this the answer, or does it have something to do with education levels in China, its societal structure, or its proximity to Hong Kong? These are questions that Indians need to ponder. They have implications for the future of our country.
Secunderabad, IndiaReturn to top
TAKING A LONG VIEW OF THE NEW HONG KONG (int'l edition)
Your coverage of the return of Hong Kong to China has been broad, thorough, and well researched, allowing the reader sympathetic to the open-market system of Western capitalism to gain a reasonably neutral view of one of the major historic events of the ending of British colonialism ("Hong Kong," Cover Story, June 9).
Hong Kong has been the leading example of laissez-faire capitalism. Its success was achieved by a combination of discipline, personal sacrifice, and the indignities endured by the nonwhites of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta.
While capitalism and growth are important, the ethics, moralities, laws, and spiritual path of moderation are as important. Pollution of the mind is a facet of the industrial pollution of China, as it is for the rest of the world. Capitalism with restraints has its pitfalls, too.
Fok Sang Gien
Pretoria, South AfricaReturn to top